UNDER THE INFLUENCE: YOUTH OF TODAY – STRAIGHT EDGE CULTURE

By Becton Simpson -23/01/2020

Youth of TodayProject XJudgeShelter, even Limp Bizkit, Sammy Siegler has played the drums for them all and then some more. He’s been one of the stalwarts of the straight edge scene since it was popularised by Shelter and Youth of Today vocalist Ray Cappo, whom he hails as a true punk, saying: “Everyone can start a band, but if you want to be punk in the punk scene then you have to do something different. He decided he didn’t like seeing everyone constantly fucked up all around him in the punk scene and so began making positive straight edge music.” You only have to look to Cappo’s past, and being told that he could never be able to start a straight edge scene to see examples of how he has been a progressive force in straight edge and hardcore for decades.

He also attributes Cappo as being a driving influence on the explosive popularity of straight edge in the mid to late 80s, and also as one of the prime figures in the expansion of the movement from solely sobriety to include meat-free and veganism lifestyles as well. This was a completely new addition to the straight edge mind-set – especially because vegetarianism was not even a topic of discussion in the US in the 80s, and even straight edge pioneers Minor Threat had made no mention of it, but Cappo saw the meat-free lifestyle as an extension of the anti-self-abuse nature of straight edge. Siegler reasoned it out as “if we consume put alcohol and drugs because they are bad for us, then why the fuck would we eat meat too?” It was certainly an extension of the culture of self-empowerment surrounding straight edge, which ran on positive energy and a meat-free lifestyle was simply the next step on this journey of self-improvement. It was the 1988 Youth of Today song ‘No More’ which Cappo used to promote a meat-free lifestyle, and which began a closer relationship between the straight edge movement and animal rights and veganism movements.

For Siegler the appeal of punk and hardcore was always that it was so different initially to the mainstream, but also because “hardcore is a constant alternative that has always been there.” He enthused about the accessibility of becoming engrained in a hardcore scene – there are very few barriers to entry and he muses about how fantastic it is that kids can pick up an instrument, start taking photos or even start their own zine all within the same scene, and because of its inherent DIY nature they learn and grow. The involvement in a local scene was the starting point for every single successful hardcore band to date, all the way from Youth of Today up to Knocked Loose, and it is that accessibility and that ability to begin a creative endeavour that Siegler feels draws young people to hardcore.

Read the full article here: UNDER THE INFLUENCE: YOUTH OF TODAY – STRAIGHT EDGE CULTURE

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Written by kellysisterhood
Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org
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